The proposed new BBC Scotland channel presents a unique opportunity for the broadcaster to regain the trust that it lost with so many people in Scotland in 2014.
I welcome that the BBC are trying to regain trust and that delivering this channel is part of that ambition – but that will only be successful if it gets proper investment.
The referendum was almost four years ago, and we have seen little evidence of BBC Scotland regaining the trust that it lost; its own audience surveys two years after the referendum reflect this.
Specifically, BBC Scotland TV news still lacks context. Scotland’s performance is too often reported in isolation and not compared to results across the UK or internationally. A wider, outward looking view from BBC Scotland is needed.
There is a disparity in political reporting. UK and Scottish governments are not scrutinised equally on BBC Scotland’s TV news.
With the cuts at STV it is now even more important that the BBC ensure plurality in their news output in Scotland.
There is also the ongoing issue of due prominence on the network. Scotland’s story on the UK news is too often missing or an afterthought, despite the creation of the Scotland Editor role in November 2015.
The proposed channel’s hour-long news programme must seek to positively change people’s perception of the BBC in Scotland.
A wider, outward looking view from BBC Scotland is needed.Hannah Bardell MP
The new BBC Scotland channel cannot be allowed to fail due to a lack of investment. I look forward to the channel launching, but I have deep concerns with the budget being only £32 million.
In comparison, RTE1 in Ireland has an annual running cost of well over £100 million.
The BBC in Glasgow would gain huge respect by making a detailed public request for enhanced budgets in years two and three. The BBC in London should meet this request and commit long term future of this channel by giving greater autonomy to Scotland.
BBC Scotland has a gender pay gap issue similar to that as the BBC as a whole – and a worse record with bonuses. It is vital that this is overcome to enable the great number of talented journalists at BBC Scotland to feel valued and for their creative talents to flourish.
The channel has to attract a wider audience – not just filling gaps and ticking boxes – for the BBC to reflect and represent the vibrant and diverse modern nation that Scotland is.
Hannah Bardell MP is SNP Media Spokesperson at Westminster.